Initiatives Principle 6

Initiatives Principle 6: A good digital initiative considers the entire lifecycle of the digital collection and associated services developed.

The staff, equipment, software, and level of effort required to plan and develop a digital collection are generally very different from that required for the collection’s long-term management and sustainability. Planning should include projecting the use of the collection over time and projecting how much updating of the collection and the project website will be required. There should also be a plan for maintaining master objects to ensure their persistence over time, and for evaluating their continued quality. Objects, regardless of storage medium, should be periodically checked for accessibility and usability.

A good digital project should result in collections and services that become important and trusted parts of the organization's information repertoire and must therefore be maintained to the same standards that the organization has set for its other collections and services. Completed collections, and collections that grow steadily and incrementally over time, should be subsumed into the ongoing workflow of the organization. Essentially, digital projects are continued by digital programs, which are ideally part of the routinely funded business of the organization.

  • JISC, Exit and Sustainability Plans website The JISC Project Guidelines provide practical frameworks for planning for “project exit” as well as sustainability. 
  • LIFE (Life-cycle Information For E-literature) website A collaboration between University College London and the British Library, the LIFE Project has developed a methodology to model the digital lifecycle and calculate the costs of preserving digital information for the next five, ten, or 100 years. 
  • Tom Clareson, “NEDCC Survey and Colloquium Explore Digitization and Digital Preservation Policies and Practices,” RLG DigiNews, v. 10, no. 1 (2006) Includes among its findings that “the lack of budget for acquisition and maintenance of digital materials was most clearly evident among the archive, public library, and ethnological/anthropological museum respondents.” 


Last updated: 04/17/2008